Carmelo Anthony has earned the scoring title for the 2012-13 NBA season. You mad? For some reason, Kevin Durant’s post on Instagram about not striving for that goal last night seemed like a slight jab at Melo, who went H.A.M. this season as the league’s leading scorer. So, Durant’s is number two in this points scored statistical category, and you know what, his KD V, in my biased opinion, are also second to Melo’s Air Jordan Melo M8 Advance from last year. To be fair, I’ve never slipped on a pair of Durant’s KD V.
Put aside the points per game stats of both of these forwards for a moment. Forget Oklahoma City’s astounding team record (60-21) versus the Knicks’ impressive 54 wins. If Durant’s sneakers are so fly, why has Melo bested him for scoring leader? My argument simply boils down to that ubiquitous catchphrase coined by Spike Lee (a.k.a Mars Blackmon), “It’s the shoes.” Those three words that came out of Spike’s mouth with vigor, declared that the Air Jordan signature sneaker is the reason why His Airness was able to soar to unseen heights, even though Jordan begged to differ. With all respect to MJ’s skills,
Mars Spike wasn’t willing to hand over credit to him so easily—probably because of his known die-hard allegiance to the Knicks. These are different times though: Jordan is retired, now Melo carries the torch of Jordan Brand in New York. If Mars Blackmon was resurrected from the ’90s, would he give props to Melo or his shoes? Ultimately, he’d have to favor the M8 Advance, Melo’s go-to shoe. He debuted them in the summer of 2012, as early as July when Anthony dominated in the Olympics setting a new USA Basketball record with 37 points (10 3-pointers), defeating Nigeria by a margin of 83 points. Fast forward to his second full season with the Knicks, he’s tied Bernard King’s record for three 40+ point games in a single season by a Knick. If you’ve been paying attention this year, Spike has paid homage to Melo’s idol by wearing King’s number 30 jersey. In back-to-back games where Melo scored over 40 points (against the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks), he was wearing the M8 Advance.
Conversely, Melo’s most debilitating knee injury, where he was compelled to have fluid drained, happened as he was wearing the M9′s (Black/White/Bright Citrus) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. We’re not saying that the M9 is a bad omen, because he’s played well in those, too. The Syracuse Team Exclusive of the M9 were clutch for Melo against the Toronto Raptors at The Garden on March 23rd. Overall, Anthony has played his best basketball in the M8 Advance, though. There was the epic win against the Los Angeles Lakers, where he scored 33 in the first quarter. Recently, the climax of Melo’s 2013 performance almost securing him the scoring title was highlighted when he dropped 50 on the Miami Heat, wearing the Game Royal/Team Orange/Black colorway. Oh, Spike was in the audience at the Heat game, sans King jersey though.
If you still think the popularity of the M8 Advance is only fueled by Melo, look at the sidelines at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks ball boys and the trainers all rock the White/Game Royal/Team Orange colorway. The materials are rigid and breathable because they’re built with Hyperfuse and mesh. Design credits go to Justin Taylor, who has been behind Melo’s kicks since the Air Jordan Melo M6 (2010). At that time—when Melo played for Denver—he said they were his best shoe yet. “For me to make a shoe as light as this shoe, and still be as durable as it is, and be able to go out there and perform and have no worries, I think this is the best shoe to have on your feet.” That sentiment about the M6 could relate directly to the M8 Advance. For all the great things that could be said about the M8 Advance in design, much credit goes to the foundation laid by the M8. “We’ve never done an exposed forefoot Zoom [Air] bag in the history of the brand, so it gives Melo something to kind of hang his hat on as the first to do,” said Taylor.
As we compare Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant’s PPG numbers: 28.7 versus 28.1, their sneakers are also very similar. The KD V, like the M8 Advance both have Zoom Air and are made of Hyperfuse technology which is the material that molds to the foot, making it one with the players. The KD V’s designer, Leo Chang told ESPN, “We decided to make it softer and easier to move.” The result makes Durant and Melo more explosive to the hoop when driving or cushioning them when landing. As you look up though, it’s Melo who is on top this year ending Durant’s 3-year scoring title streak. Congrats Melo. Keep advancing.